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A Rekindling of Hearts  by Periantari

Bright fire was falling everywhere. It was always hot and steaming now. He found himself stumbling. Fire was everywhere. When had Ithilien burned so hard and so deep?

And where was Boromir? He had seen him go down to the river.

His father Denethor, always stern, never a man to show emotion, was openly weeping, holding the broken horn of Gondor, the token that his dear brother had held.

“Then do you wish our places had been exchanged?”

“Yes, for he was no wizard’s pupil while you are – only looking and seeking Mithrandir’s approval. Never mine—do you always think of your father a dotard and a fool?”

“No, I would never think that way!”

“Burning, burning, all is burning. I will burn too!”

Father, no!”

Denethor did not heed anyone, especially not Faramir.  And to Faramir’s horror, Denethor poured oil onto himself and flung himself out the tower.

A great wave crashed into Gondor.


Faramir flung his blankets on to the floor, and leapt to his feet. He sought his sword but then realized he was in the Houses of Healing and that he had had a most vivid nightmare. It was still the middle of the night. 

Sweat had drenched his nightshirt and he felt foolish to have been so affected by a nightmare like this. Tears pricked his eyes.  His shoulder throbbed anew with the sudden movement he made.  He was heavy with grief about his father, but he knew better than to blame himself.

His shoulder ached, his head hurt, and suddenly he felt very alone in this world.  He walked slowly over to the window that faced eastwards. It was deepest blackness outside with not a star or the moon to illuminate the night sky.  The Captains of the West had marched away for two days now and there was no word. He had had an engrossing conversation with the Hobbit Meriadoc yesterday, but he did not confide    in anyone about how hollow he felt with his brother and now father gone from the circles of Arda.  

During his time in Osgiliath, he was busy directing the Rangers of Ithilien and did not have time to properly grieve, but now he felt the great emptiness of not having his older brother here anymore.  And to hear how his father had perished was too much to endure.  

Tears streamed down his eyes, which made his headache worse.  He wept freely.  He walked back tentatively to his bed and felt older than his years. If only he had someone to talk with, someone who understood grief and loss as he did.

Faramir took a deep breath.  He laid back down in bed and felt the headache was not as intense now as the throbbing on his shoulder.  His physical health had improved greatly since Aragorn had seen him three days ago, but sometimes when it was quiet at night, he would feel some of the after effects of the Black Breath. The head nurse, Amarie, who was assigned to him, would still come to check how he was during the day, making sure he took the necessary pain medication and willow bark tea to prevent any fever.  

The wound was healing well, but there would  most likely be a scar till the end of his days where the arrow had penetrated. He shuddered to think that he could have perished. He still felt a slither of hope that there would be a better future of Gondor.

But now, he would think of how tragic both his father and brother’s deaths were and remember them.  Even though he was not close to Denethor, he still felt the loss and he was  shocked at the madness that drove his father to the abyss. The grief was unbearable.  

He remembered being pulled from a never-ending labyrinth of warped nightmares by Aragorn back into reality when he was under the Black Shadow. It was unlike anything that he had felt. Was he on the edge of death before? He did not know entirely, but he knew Aragorn’s intentions were good and he could lead Gondor and the Northern Kingdoms back to the glory that they once had. He felt indebted and in Aragorn’s service after he had saved his life. He could not explain the trust and confidence, but he knew that if Aragorn came back, he would make sure there would be a smooth transition.

He felt more at ease on thinking about the hopeful future that might be if the War was won.  

However, sleep did not come easily for the nightmare had made him anxious and troubled.  How might matters have been different had he had gone to Imladris?  How might it have been different had they successfully defended Osgliath?  There was hope, but fear was yet stronger as the dark forces were pouring forth to quench any hope of a positive spring for Gondor and also Middle-earth.   It would be a bitter spring, indeed, if the Dark Lord crushed Gondor’s forces and if the Ring were found. 

Faramir was weary, but he could not close his eyes, for fear that his father would still haunt him in his dreams with taunts that he could never hope to be as good as his brother.  His eyes grew heavy and tired from weeping.  Eventually he fell into an uneasy sleep.

Faramir did not rise when the nurse entered, nor when breakfast came.  He felt too tired and out of sorts, less hopeful than how he had felt yesterday and the day before when he was speaking with the Hobbit about Lady Éowyn.

“My Lord?” Amarie was standing by his bed seemingly wanting to give him his medicine.

But he was in a fey mood and feigned sleep, and he hoped that everyone would leave him be for the moment. 

He would worry about his responsibilities when the King returned. If he returned.

But his nurse was insistent and he felt his hand on his forehead.

“My Lord Faramir; you are warmer than expected at the moment. We need to change your dressing and you need to wake up to take your medicine.  Lord Faramir!”

Blearily he opened his eyes.  Amarie examined his wound, checked his pulse and placed some cooling cloths on his head. He did not feel like protesting.

Amarie was young, with brown hair, brown eyes and small stature.  She was a kindly woman, directly under Ioreth in supervising him and making sure he would get better.   She was the head nurse, second only to Ioreth in skill. 

 There were a handful of people from the city who visited him each day. and all were anxious for his health.  Bergil would come as well, representing Beregond, who he knew was devoted to him.  Today, he did not feel like any visitors.

“Sorry, I did not sleep too well last night.”  Faramir yawned, and he felt the throbbing intensely in his shoulder and he felt warmer than expected.  “Please tell my visitors that I wish to be alone today.”

“You do not look as well as yesterday.  We will only bother you for a little while now,” Amarie replied.   

She changed his bandages, and he acquiesced to the willow bark tea that was prepared for him. He did not have an appetite though and laid back down and closed his eyes.

“My lord, you have to eat this late breakfast that Ioreth ordered for you.”

“I will later; I am quite tired now,” replied Faramir drowsily.  

“I will be back in half an hour; it is quite late, my Lord, and you haven’t eaten today,” Amarie insisted.

“I will eat later, I promise,” replied Faramir and with those words, he fell asleep again.

When Faramir woke later that day, it was an hour past noon, but he felt better physically. Amarie and Ioreth were both there chiding him to eat and he did.  He took a bite of his meal they had brought back for him, and Amarie checked his vital signs.  After the meal and some tea, he felt well enough to get up.  He never liked being idle, even though he was still ordered to take it easy each day.  

“Even if you feel up to, please do not overtax yourself, my Lord!  You weren’t yourself this morning.  We cannot rule out a relapse and remember, you were pulled from the Black Shadow only recently!” Ioreth reprimanded.

“Very well, I will take care,” replied Faramir as he looked out his window.

He remembered that he would like to meet Lady Éowyn if he could. The one thought that kept his hope alive was that there might be someone in whose company he could keep the darkness at bay. This also motivated to keep his strength up.  He did not quite understand why he was so drawn to her, especially at their first meeting when she seemed so ill at ease for being in the Houses of Healing. 

After walking around his room, he did not feel strong enough yet to venture out to the Gardens.  He sat wearily back on his bed.  He resolved he would take a walk during the evening.  He had hoped Merry would be there again and they would look out for the Lady of Rohan together.

Afternoon turned to early evening when Faramir took another nap.  Fortunately, he did not wake after bad dreams, only dreams that had some hollow darkness.  The darkness though had an uninviting look and it scared him because he felt like he would fall into it if he didn’t wake up in time.

Again, that evening, Faramir found Merry; sitting not by himself this time, but with Bergil and they were speaking about life in the Shire.  Faramir was gladdened by this scene and even smiled.  However, Éowyn did not come to join them while they let the dark sky devour them as they waited for another day, maybe a day that would give them reason to hope.



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